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David Friesen : Connection

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David Friesen is a creative bassist with a poetic sensibility whose prolific recorded output has mostly failed to capture the magic he can conjure live. His new double album, Connection, another self-produced low-budget Friesen project, is not without issues. But it is his strongest record in years.

The first CD contains 15 duo tracks (13 of them Friesen originals) with guitarist Larry Koonse, recorded in a Phoenix, Ariz. studio in 2005. The second disc adds drummer Joe LaBarbera, features mostly standards, and was recorded in a La Jolla, Calif. studio in 2001. The sonic quality is different yet equally undistinguished on the two CDs. Friesen plays the Hemage bass, a rare electric instrument made in Austria whose thin, sometimes nasal sound (as portrayed on these recordings) is one-dimensional. The Hemage bass seems an odd instrument choice for a player devoted to elegiac nuance.

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